Welcome to the second part of our two-part article on typeface and fonts! In this continuation, we’ll be delving deeper into the world of typography, and how it affects the perception of consumers on brands. We’ll also be highlighting certain tips and tricks that brands can employ when choosing a typeface or font for their communication material.
But before we delve even further into more information, we suppose it would be prudent to highlight the difference between typeface, and font.
Typeface: A family of fonts (For e.g., the typeface “Roboto” would include the fonts Roboto Thin, Roboto Light, and Roboto Bold)
Font: Variations of typeface in terms of weight, width, and style (For e.g., Roboto Thin is a font, and belongs to the typeface “Roboto”)
Here’s a visual representation of the difference between the two:
Now that’s out of the way, let’s proceed, shall we?
Fonts and Emotions
Imagine if certain brands that you’re familiar with abruptly switched their corporate typeface. What if Chanel or Dior used Comic Sans for their communication material?
Yeah, we honestly don’t want to think about it either.
The point we’re trying to get at is that different typefaces elicit different feelings in consumers, and your choice in typefaces should depend on said emotions that your brand is trying to elicit in your customers.
In 2006, Wichita State University’s Software Usability Research Laboratory conducted research to find out if different fonts had different emotions and personalities associated with said fonts. More than 500 participants were asked to assign personalities and emotions to each font, and the fonts were then organised to the personality factors that they shared most frequently.
Serif – stability, tradition, intellect, and formality
Serifs are denoted by the small lines or strokes that are regularly attached to the end of a larger stoke in a letter or symbol.
They’re the oldest type family that exists, originating from official Greek writings and in Latin alphabet. Print versions of the Serif were found as early as 1465, when the first movable-type printing presses were first created, and were seen in newspapers, pamphlets, and brochures of that era.
Many different types of Serif fonts exist, but given the age of the Serif typeface, there is little wonder as to why they are associated with the above emotions.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Serif typeface, Typetopia has a pretty great post about it on their social media channels.
Sans-serif – progressive, informal, open, and friendly
Sans-serif fonts came about in the early 19th century, but only became much popular later, during the 20th century, when modernism came into play. They are seen as progressive and emotional, historically popular and cool for posters.
These fonts are associated with a break in tradition, giving them the personality of progressiveness and adaptability.
Companies nowadays are breaking away from traditional Serif fonts in favour of Sans-serif fonts – as highlighted in the previous article, in an attempt to appear approachable.
Modern Sans-serif – chic, futuristic and elegant
(Avenir Next LT Pro)
A sub-family of Sans-serif fonts, we thought this would be good to put in the list given the number of brands that are using these. Modern San-serif fonts are commonly seen in design-focused businesses and brands.
We’ve been seeing a trend toward geometric, modern Sans-serif fonts in recent times, which gives letterforms an open, functional appearance. Geometric modern Sans-serif fonts are seen as friendlier, and bubblier, as opposed to the traditional chic modern Sans-serif fonts.
Notable brands using modern Sans-serif fonts include Netflix, Chanel, Google, and Airbnb. We use Montserrat, by the way… Just in case you were wondering.
Choosing a Font
Of course, there are plenty of other typefaces that exist in the world apart from those covered above. More than 500,000 fonts exist in the world, and according to experts, your brand should use no more than 3 in corporate communications. This gives consistency across your brand assets, helping consumers recognise and remember you better.
There are plenty of great ways to choose fonts, and here are a few tips and tricks about making good choices for your brand.
First, consider the personality that your brand has. We’ve gone through the associated emotions for the different type families above, and understanding your brand personality first would be a great way to chisel out a huge chunk of fonts that wouldn’t be a great fit for your brand.
Your brand collateral, brand strategy, logo, typeface, colours, stationery and applications should be consistent all across the board. Picking a font that is consistent with your brand personality is one of the major factors that you should consider.
More might not necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to consistency’s sake. A general rule of thumb is to pick no more than 3 fonts for your brand. The most common pairing often seen used by many brands include the Serif and Sans-serif combination.
Another would be picking fonts based on their contrasting weight. Doing so will ensure a clear distinction between the two that guides readers around your design.
There are plenty of great resources floating around the web regarding font combinations, but one of our personal favourites is this article by Hoefler and Frere-Jones.
Size and Spacing
Not many people pay attention to the size and spacing of their fonts, but this is something that is absolutely imperative to help your readers consume your materials quicker, and more conveniently. Having your consumers squint for information would be terrible, which is why brands have to consider the size of their font, alongside the spacing between each line.
A good rule of thumb would be to have fonts that have high contrast with the background, a large font size, as well as accessible spacing. This helps consumers read through your web designs easier, than straining their eyes.
Here’s a great article about the importance of size and spacing, by Tommy Walker.
We hope that you’ve walked away from these two articles of ours having learned more about the delicate process of choosing a typeface and font for your brand!
Don’t be shy to let us know your thoughts. If you’d like to learn more about picking the right typography for your brand, come chat with us! We’re always open for discussion, and to go through a complimentary, no-obligations, audit of your brand with you.